Heard, who played one season at UK after transferring from Nebraska, will complete his bachelor's degree this spring before chasing his professional dreams.
As a junior, Heard rushed for 366 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 5.1 yards per carry. He began his season with a bang, scoring from 73 yards and 43 yards on his only two carries in UK's opener against UT Martin, but never found a steady role in a backfield that also featured Stanley "Boom" Williams, JoJo Kemp and Mikel Horton.
“I appreciate the hard work Braylon gave to the Kentucky program,” UK coach Mark Stoops said in a statement released by the school. “He has been a model student-athlete and we wish him nothing but the best.”
Prior to his UK transfer, Heard rushed 77 times for 452 yards and one touchdown at Nebraska. The Youngstown, Ohio, native elected to follow his recruiting coach, Vince Marrow, to Lexington when Stoops took over the Wildcats.
The NFL Draft is scheduled for April 30 through May 2.
Heard's departure leaves the Cats a bit thin at the position entering the spring. Williams, Kemp and Horton are expected to return, along with senior Josh Clemons, but the Cats do not have any other scholarship players at the position. UK's current recruitng class also does not feature any committed players who are expected to be in the backfield.
Kentucky recruited one of the top-ranked backs in the country, but recently lost the battle to Alabama when Berea (Ky.) Madison Southern standout Damien Harris gave his commitment to the Crimson Tide.